Rhône-Alpes region's health sector strongly represented at Medica 2011

15 November 2011

The Medical Technology Cluster in Saint-Etienne and the I-Care Cluster in Lyons will attend, together with a number of their members, the MEDICA COMPAMED trade show in Düsseldorf (Germany) from 16 to 19 November 2011.

Put together, the companies in this sector, across the south-eastern French region of Rhône-Alpes, generate a turnover in excess of €2 billion, a quarter of which stems from exports.

Through their participation in the MEDICA COMPAMED trade fair, in Düsseldorf (Western Germany), this week, the two high-tech clusters and their members intend to boost the development of the sector across the Rhône-Alpes region — a part of France that already hosts three-quarters of all French-based manufacturers of individual-use medical devices.

The Medical Technology Cluster, centred on Saint-Etienne, and the I-Care Cluster, based in and around Lyons, play a unifying role among industrialists, health professionals, research laboratories, technical facilities and educational centres. With close to a 100 members, the work of these two clusters of excellence is focused on four sectors of expertise — surgical implants, medical textiles, extended home care and health-related technology (e-health).

Widely acknowledged for its know-how in terms of traditional textiles, the Rhône-Alpes region has also succeeded in establishing itself in the field of technical textiles. As a result, several cluster partners are currently working on a project in orthotics metrology that should ultimately lead to the adoption of common standards in the efficiency indexes of orthoses. (Orthotics is a specialist area within the medical field that deals with the design, manufacture and application of orthoses; an orthosis is an orthopaedic device designed to correct or support the function of a limb, or that of the torso.)

In addition, the region's substantial industrial expertise in biomaterials and surface treatment has fostered particular competence among implant designers and manufacturers. In the medical field, technological choices — for instance, regarding surface treatment — are vital: they will have a lasting impact on implant behaviour, life expectancy and biocompatibility.

The medical institutions of the Rhône-Alpes region are also united around the issue of extended home care. An 'observatory' has been set up including nine fully equipped show flats to help analyze users' needs and behaviour, and to look into various solutions aimed at supporting the autonomy of patients. Solutions range from home automation to improvements in design, and from the provision of specific furniture to the supply of medico-surgical equipment.

Put in place by the Medical Technology Cluster of Saint-Etienne, the Medintech project has for its part a Europe-wide outlook and aims to bring several high-tech clusters together in order to work on smart medical textiles. The Linz-based Oberösterreich Clusterland (in Austria), Centexbel (in Belgium) and CITEVE (in Portugal) have joined the project.

Such partnerships are an illustration of how Rhône-Alpes clusters are opening up opportunities for growth and innovation in international technology that will benefit local businesses, but also their partners in other countries.

About the Medical Technology Cluster

Since 2007, the Medical Technology Cluster and the Economic Development Agency of the Loire region have organized joint stands in order to give the opportunity to Rhône-Alpes companies to come and exhibit at the MEDICA COMPAMED trade fair.

For more information about the Medical Technology Cluster, please go to: http://en.pole-medical.com/

About the I-Care Cluster

The council of the region of Rhône-Alpes and the French government lend their support to the I-Care Cluster, which aims to group together and promote health-related businesses, research and technology in Lyons and its surroundings.

For more information about the I-Care Cluster, please go to: http://www.i-carecluster.org/

The Medical Technology Cluster and the I-Care Cluster will present their strategy and their members in Hall 17 (Stand A24), at the MEDICA COMPAMED trade show, in Düsseldorf (Germany), from 16 to 19 November


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